Category Archive: News

Oct 04 2018

Take the vQuiz and test your vKnowledge on the history of VMware

I’m starting a new feature called the vQuiz which is designed to test your knowledge on virtualization and VMware. This is a timed quiz that you have 6 minutes to complete 20 questions, each quiz has a specific theme and a sponsor and the top 3 responses that get the most questions correct in the least amount of time will win prizes from our sponsor. The questions for this quiz will be specific to the theme with a few questions specific to the sponsor.

For this inaugural quiz the theme is the History of VMware, I don’t have a sponsor for it however you can still win prizes that I am supplying in the form of Amazon gift cards. I am looking for sponsors for future quiz’s so if you are interesting please contact me and we can build a quiz to whatever theme you choose (i.e. backups, storage, cloud, etc.)  To take the quiz simply click the logo below, the quiz will be open for 2 weeks after which I will publish the correct answers and notify the top 3 winners.

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Oct 03 2018

Upcoming Webinar: A Farewell to LUNs – Discover how VVols forever changes storage in vSphere

I’m hosting a webinar on Tuesday October 23rd at 8:00am PST with Pete Flecha from VMware  to discuss the many benefits of VVols and the fundamental change it will have on storage in vSphere. This webinar is basically the same as an abstract that I submitted for VMworld that wasn’t accepted and it won’t have any sales or marketing pitch in it, it’s geared to promote VVols in general terms. I’d love to see you there, we will try and make it as interesting as possible and show current adoption trends, discuss ecosystem support and highlight the pain points that VVols helps solve. You can go register for it here.

Webinar title: A Farewell to LUNs – Discover how VVols forever changes storage in vSphere
Presented by: Eric Siebert – WW Product Manager, HPE & Pete Flecha – Sr. Technical Marketing Architect, VMware

Abstract:

To borrow a phrase from a popular song from REM, “It’s the end of the LUN as we know it and I feel fine”. VMware VVols changes everything we know about storage for vSphere in a good way, with VVols LUN management is a thing of the past. VMware VVols represents the future of external storage for vSphere and that future is here right now. VVols also represents many years of engineering work by both VMware and its storage partners. The result of that work is a new storage architecture for vSphere that solves many of the hidden complexities inherent in VMFS and levels the playing field between file and block protocols. Learn from experts at HPE & VMware how VVols transforms external storage in vSphere, eliminates complexities and provides very real benefits to customers.

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Oct 02 2018

Upcoming webinar this week: Towards near-zero data loss. What you need to get right

Data loss is a key concern for every business, especially in today’s hostile world where malware and ransomware run rampant. Vembu can help you avoid data loss and keep your critical data safe. Join the experts from Vembu on Wed. October 3rd and Thurs. October 4th for a webinar entitled “Towards near-zero data loss. What you need to get right” where you will learn:

  • How to leverage the maximum benefits from a near-zero data loss strategy
  • A virtual walk-through into the ways to achieve near-zero data loss
  • How to achieve near-zero data loss with Vembu
  • And a lot more…

By registering for the webinar you will also have a chance to win Amazon gift vouchers worth $100. Don’t wait, go sign up now!

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Sep 28 2018

The legendary turtles at VMware HQ

If you have ever been to VMware’s campus in Palo Alto you have probably seen or heard of the legendary turtles that rule the little pond between the Promontory A & D buildings. I accidentally stumbled across an old blog post by VMware the other day that explained the origin of how the turtles came to be the caretakers of the pond. The story was told by VMware’s Workplace Supervisor, that when the pond was originally built they intended to put koi fish in it but they couldn’t keep them alive unless they let algae grow. They didn’t want to do that however as they wanted to keep the pond water clear so the pond sat empty for a long time.

One day while at lunch he stumbled across a turtle in a tank that the restaurant was trying to get rid of, they asked him if he wanted it and after checking to make sure there was no chemicals in the pond that might harm wildlife he stuck the turtle in a small cooler and took it back with him. He brought it to the pond and set it free and it promptly sunk to the bottom but eventually started to move around. That turtle was named Rosie and eventually they brought it a few companion turtles, from there the population started to grow and today they are up to 13 turtles enjoying the pond.

You can read the full tale here, they also have their own Facebook page and if you are ever at VMware HQ be sure and give them a visit.

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Sep 19 2018

Happy Endday vSphere 5.5!

vSphere 5.5 was released almost 5 years ago to the day, Sept. 22nd 2013. Today VMware officially ended support for it and they recommend you upgrade to vSphere 6.5 or 6.7. Despite this I know there is still a large number of customers still running 5.5 for various reasons regardless of the EOS for it. End of support doesn’t mean those customers will be jumping to 6.x anytime soon, VMware does provide the option for customers to purchase extended support in one year increments for up to two years for those that really want to hang on to vSphere 5.5 for as long as possible.

In addition VMware is still offering Technical Guidance for 5.5 for another 2 years, this allows customers to open online support requests, no phone support is provided though. VMware doesn’t recommend Technical Guidance for critical applications and you must be on a supported configuration. VMware will not provide support for new hardware, updates, patches or bug fixes, they only recommend it for customers with stable environments and workloads.

So in reality the clock hasn’t completely stopped on 5.5, it will be ticking still for 2 years before it is completely dead. I know there are various reasons why customers are staying on 5.5, the whole if it ain’t broke leave it alone, more favorable Oracle licensing, big environments that will take a long time to upgrade and other reasons. I have heard that 6 months ago more than half of VMware customers were still running vSphere 5.5, that is a significant user base and is a bit worrisome that so many are camped out on pretty old release. There is a lot of great stuff in vSphere 6,0/6.5/6.7 that make for compelling reasons to upgrade, in particular you can start using VVols in vSphere 6.0 although 6.5 or 6.7 is recommended.

So happy Endday vSphere 5.5, well kinda, it’s more at retirement age right now instead of being ready to be buried quite yet.

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Sep 15 2018

Why VMware VVols are Simpler, Smarter and Faster then traditional storage

Recently at VMworld in Vegas, Pete Flecha from VMware did a presentation on VVols at the HPE booth which highlights the benefits of VVols being simpler, smarter and faster than traditional storage with vSphere. The link to the presentation is below but I thought I would also summarize why VVols are simpler, smarter and faster.

VVols are Simpler

The reason VVols are simpler is because of storage policy based management which automates the provisioning and reclamation of storage for VMs. VVols completely eliminates LUN management on the storage array as vSphere can natively write VMs to a storage array, VVols are provisioned as needed when VMs are created and automatically reclaimed when VMs are deleted or moved.

VVols are Smarter

The reason VVols are smarter is again because of storage policy based management and also by the dynamic real time nature of storage operations between vSphere and the storage array. With VVols a storage array stays as efficient and thin as possible as space is always reclaimed immediately for VMs and snapshots and even when data is deleted within the guest OS it can be reclaimed on the storage array. In addition the array manages all snapshots and clones and array capabilities can be assigned at the VM level with SPBM.

VVols are Faster

The reason VVols are faster is not what you might think, data is still written from vSphere to a storage array using the same storage queues and paths, there is no performance difference between VVols & VMFS for normal read/write operations. Where VVols is much faster than VMFS is when it comes to snapshots, because all vSphere snapshots are array snapshots they are much more efficient and they take the burden off the host, In addition because there is no need to merge any data that has changed while a snapshot is active, deleting snapshots is always an instant process which can have a very positive impact on backups.

 

Go watch the whole video to learn more about why VVols are so great , it’s only about 15 minutes long.


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Sep 08 2018

Nominations for the 2018 Top vBlog voting categories are now open!

Just like prior years in addition to the traditional voting I’m opening it up to allow voting in specific categories as well to help distinguish certain types of blogs. To do this I have created a form to allow you to nominate your blog or website for one of the categories that I have defined if your blog fits one or more of the categories, if it does not then don’t nominate it as all blogs on the vLaunchPad will automatically be included in the general top blog voting.

This form is not the general voting poll for the top VMware/virtualization blogs, this form is only to nominate your blog for certain categories if it fits. Once the nominations are collected I will open the polls for voting for the top blogs where voters will be able to rate their top 10 blogs and also vote in each of the categories.

You should only nominate your own blog/website, these nominations will be used to populate the category choices when voting opens. If your blog doesn’t fit one of these categories then do not nominate it, all blogs on the vLaunchPad will automatically be included in the general top blog voting. If your blog is not currently listed on the vLaunchPad use this form to let me know.

The criteria for the categories to see if your blog qualifies for them are as follows:

  • Favorite New Blog – Blog must have been started in 2017
  • Favorite Storage Blog – Must have greater than 50% posts as storage related
  • Favorite Independent Blogger – Must not work for VMware or a Technology Partner (i.e. EMC, Dell, IBM, Unitrends, etc.), basically this means customers, resellers and integrators only.
  • Favorite Scripting/Automation Blog – Must have greater than 50% posts as scripting/automation related
  • Favorite Non-English Blog – Must be primarily published in a non-English language
  • Favorite Podcast – Easy one, you must have a podcast
  • Favorite Female Blogger – Special recognition for women in tech, must be a female blogger
  • Favorite News/Information Site – Any site that primarily publishes news and information and is not really a blog

Again, only nominate your own blog/website!

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Sep 07 2018

Everything you need to know about UNMAP in vSphere

As I watch the VMworld session recordings which are all publicly available I’ve been doing a write-up and summary of those sessions. My write-up is only a small summary of those sessions which are usually packed full of great information so I encourage you to go watch the full session recording. Today’s topic is UNMAP, a feature I have been very involved with since it’s initial release and a feature that has greatly evolved and changed across vSphere releases. John & Jason from VMware’s tech marketing do a great job talking about the history of UNMAP, showing examples of UNMAP in action and making recommendations for getting the most out of UNMAP. Below is my summary of the session and some highlights from it:

Session:  Better Storage Utilization with Space Reclamation/UNMAP (HCI3331BU) (View session recording)

Speakers:  Jason Massae, Technical Marketing Architect, Core Storage, vSAN, VMware – John Nicholson, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, VMware

  • The session opens with a description of space reclamation and the different levels it can be performed at and explains why it is an import feature. Next they go into the history of UNMAP which was a bit troubled at first, it debuted as part of vSphere 5.0 as an automatic process but issues with some vendors being able to support it properly quickly surfaced and in 5.0 Update 1 it was disabled by default. From that point on it became a manual (CLI) process until it finally came back in vSphere 6.5 as an automatic process with some modifications to force the process to work at fixed rate levels. In 6.7 they further refined UNMAP with a configurable rate to provide more flexibility and in 6.7 U1 vSAN it became it a truly automatic process again (for vSAN only).

  • Next they go into more detail on how the process worked across different vSphere versions. I went into a lot of detail on this in this post I did on UNMAP in vSphere 6.5, in 6.7 the only changed was going from fixed preset limits to more flexible configurable limits. They didn’t mention it but take note that UNMAP with VVols has been automatic since vSphere 6.0, a host doesn’t need to tell an array which blocks to reclaim when a VM is deleted the array is already aware of it and it’s on the array to do the reclamation on it’s own. Because of this flexibility an array can hold off on reclaiming space and potentially allow a user to undelete a VM if needed (i.e. recycle bin).

  • Next they cover in detail what was actually un-mapped in different versions of vSphere, 6.0 was pretty limited to thin disks only, in vSphere 6.5 it became less restrictive and now with vSphere 6.7 it pretty much works with everything. One thing to note again with VVols is that un-mapping from within the guest OS is supported and also snapshots are automatically reclaimed as well when they are deleted as all snapshots with VVols are array based snapshots.

  • As far as what types of Datastores are supported with UNMAP, what it really comes down to is how the UNMAP is handled. With VMFS vSphere tells the storage array what blocks to UNMAP as the array had no visibility inside the VMFS volume and doesn’t know where VM data resides. With NFS which isn’t a block based file system the array is already aware of which disk blocks a VM is on as a VM is written as a file, once the VM is deleted it knows which blocks to reclaim when deleting that file. The same holds true for VVols, the array knows where the VM is written and just deletes and reclaims the VVols associated with a VM. It’s VM level visibility great?
  • From there they went on describing the mechanics of how UNMAP works and some best practices for using it effectively. They also showed how to monitor the performance impact of UNMAP along with some demos. I just touched on a small part of this session so I encourage you to go watch the session replay to learn a lot more about UNMAP.
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